Crown & Sceptre sitting pretty at the top of the tree

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As the Hemel Hempstead Table Tennis League reaches its Christmas break, Division One leaders Crown & Sceptre I enhanced their position with a hat-trick of wins.

They saw off Row 10-0, beat their A team 8-2 and then replicated the scoreline against Flamstead I, with James Dance adding two maximums to his tally. Gary Keers, Alan Thomas and Marc Lyons also bagged trebles.

However, Crown had to settle for a 5-5 draw against their main rivals, Adeyfield I, for whom Mike Boardman was the star man.

Second placed St Michaels kept up the pressure with three wins of their own, beating Crown & Sceptre A (9-1), Flamstead A (7-3) and Crown & Sceptre B (10-0) as Phu Duc Nguyen, Martin Livesey and Vadym Krevs hit maximums.

Although Adeyfield I lie in third place, they have three games in hand and still harbour title aspirations. They beat Crown B 10-0 and Flamstead A 9-1 as Nigel Finn made a double maximum and Mike Boardman and Martin Johnson hit a treble apiece.

Row beat Crown & Sceptre B 7-3 but lost by the same scoreline to Crown A. Richard Anderson and Paul Jolly gained maximums in their win, while Ken Stonebridge did likewise for Crown A.

Flamstead A overcame their A team 7-3 with Nick Denney gaining a treble for the winners.

In Division Two, Adeyfield A are beginning to open up a lead after three straight 9-1 wins over Flamstead B, St Georges I and KLCC I. Les Leech, Nigel Finn and Mike Branscombe all had double maximums, with Martin Johnson also hitting a treble.

Northchurch I kept on their heels with victories over St Georges I (10-0), KLCC I (6-4) and Adeyfield B (7-3) as Paul Rickard, Simon Whale and Frank Beck all hit maximums.

Crown & Sceptre C have surged up the league following 7-3 victories over McAlpine and KLCC I, as well as an 8-2 triumph over Adeyfield B. The star men were Geoff Walke and Alex Hamilton with double maximums.

St Georges I had a Jackie Chennells hat-trick to thank for their 6-4 win over Adeyfield B, but Adeyfield B fared better against Flamstead B with an 8-2 victory thanks to a Maruisz Puczynski maximum.

Meanwhile, Flamstead C have moved to the top of Division Three and opened up an 18-point lead with victories over Northchurch A (10-0), St Georges A (9-1) and KLCC A (7-3). Tony Bourke and Daniel Penberthy both hit maximums, with Phil Oswin and Roy Lambden also bagging trebles.

Flamstead then drew 5-5 with second placed Highfield, for whom Alan Jolly starred, before Highfield had back-to-back wins over Adeyfield C and Crown & Sceptre C - Ian Roby hitting a double maximum, with Colm Parslow gaining a treble.

Northchurch A had Dave Walker to thank in a 7-3 win over Adeyfield C, before Walker, Bronwen Watson and Frank Manfield all claimed maximums in a 1-0 drubbing of their B team.

Northchurch B then lost 7-3 to KLCC A thanks to Rod Marshment and John Saunders, before KLCC A beat Crown & Sceptre D 9-1 thanks to maximums from Marshment and Peter Watts.

During this time, the second round of the Wren Cup and the first round of the Wren Plate took place.

Adeyfield I, St Georges I, Adeyfield B and Crown & Sceptre C all reached the quarter-finals of the Cup, while Northchurch A, Adeyfield A, Northchurch B and Highfield B did likewise in the Plate.